Toi que jamais je ne termine is a portrait of the feminine—a feminine that can never be completed, or is even impossible—as envisaged by Québec artist Sophie Jodoin. This recently acquired feminist, manifesto-like work seems to us to form a close fit and a perfect dialogue with the exhibitions Françoise Sullivan, Manifesto and Scores.
The work of Sophie Jodoin has developed over the last twenty-five years through her continued studio practice. This remarkably skilled artist has produced striking works using drawing, collage, photography, text and the recontextualization of found objects.
Toi que jamais je ne termine is a pivotal work in her ongoing practice, expressing a conceptual approach with respect to the body as subject and language as raw material.
This installation demands to be read: it crystallizes an image of woman that is constructed through the juxtaposition of the titles of 116 publications bought by the artist over a two-year period in various second-hand bookstores. Each one is opened to its half-title: the page that, unlike the cover or the title page, which it precedes, contains only the title of the work, with no mention of author or publisher. Following this principle, the books overlap one another, thus forming a string of successive titles echoing the linear structure of written language. Through its format, its content and its looping composition, the installation prompts the spectator to proceed around the platform, thereby transposing the very modalities of reading to a more physical level requiring the whole body to move.
In the reading of this frieze of titles listing a litany of stereotypes, woman is enumerated, outlined, described. The work stands as a narrative with multiple readings as well as critical aims. Here, language becomes the raw material that challenges the manifestations corresponding to society’s image of woman throughout all time and up to the present—one that urgently needs to be rewritten and redefined.